No, you are not pleading guilty if you are charged with reckless driving in Virginia and sign the ticket. Unlike when you are arrested for other misdemeanor offenses, you are not placed in handcuffs and hauled off to jail for reckless driving. Instead, the officer would ask you to sign a ticket, which is really called a summons, and allow you to remain free until your case is decided.
What Are You Signing When You Sign the Reckless Driving Summons?
The document that the police officer would hand you when charging you with reckless driving is a summons to appear in court. It will tell you the date, time, and location of your hearing. Here is what you are agreeing to when you sign the summons:
- You are not pleading guilty by signing the summons.
- By signing the summons, you are promising to attend your court hearing in your criminal case.
- You understand that if you fail to attend your court hearing, you could be arrested.
What Could Happen If You Refuse to Sign the Reckless Driving Summons?
If you refuse to sign the reckless driving summons, the police officer may assume that you will not appear in court and has the discretion to arrest you and take you to the police station to be booked. Keep in mind that you can be arrested even if you sign the ticket if the officer has other reasons to believe that you will not attend your court hearing.
In addition, law enforcement officials and the prosecutor could view you as uncooperative if you refuse to sign the ticket. They may be less willing to offer you a favorable plea agreement if you must plead guilty to the offense.
Your best strategy is to sign the summons and hire an experienced reckless driving attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. They can raise your defenses—which you can have even if you are guilty of the charges—so that you achieve the best possible outcome given your situation.
Were you or a family member charged with reckless driving in Virginia? Call our Manassas office or start a live chat today to schedule your free consultation to learn how we will aggressively fight for your rights.